Toronto is an international hub for business, art, food, sports, and more. There are as many reasons to visit Canada’s largest city as there are visitors. But when you’re planning your visit to Toronto, it helps to know what kind of documents you’ll need in order to travel. Some visitors will need to apply for a visa, while others will be able to visit using only an electronic travel authorization, or eTA. Still others won’t require either. Which type of document you need depends on where you’re coming from, your citizenship, the type of travel you’re undertaking, and more.
Visiting without a visa or eTA
The majority of international visitors to Canada each year come from the country’s neighbor to the south, the United States. As a result, Canada and the USA have established travel rules that make it easy for US nationals to cross the border. US citizens can enter Canada freely as long as they carry appropriate identification. Similarly, US permanent residents can travel to Canada without either a visa or an eTA as long as they carry both a passport from their home country and a document identifying them as a US permanent resident, such as a Green Card. If you’re an American national, you don’t need either a visa or eTA to visit Toronto. Citizens of Canada, including dual citizens, also don’t need either a visa or an eTA, but dual citizens must travel using a Canadian passport.
What is an eTA?
If you’re not Canadian or American, you will need either a visa or an eTA to visit Canada. An eTA is an electronic document that proves you are authorized to enter the country. The eTA will connect to your passport, meaning that you can travel to Canada as frequently as you like within the eTA’s five-year duration (or until your passport expires if that happens first).
Over 50 nations are visa-exempt, meaning that their nationals can enter the country using an eTA. In addition, nationals of some countries that are not exempt may still be able to use an eTA when flying into the country, although they still need a visa if entering Canada by land or sea. The eTA application process is both quicker and less expensive than the application process for visas.
Visa or eTA?
Whether your journey to Toronto will require a visa or an eTA depends on several factors. Your nationality, whether you’re coming by air or land, and how long you intend to stay all play a role.
First, you need to determine whether you come from a visa-exempt nation. Travellers from dozens of countries don’t necessarily require a visa to visit Canada. Determining whether your country is visa-exempt or not is the first step toward determining whether you’ll need a visa to visit the country. Most passport holders from visa-exempt countries don’t need a visa if they want to visit Canada, study at a Canadian educational institution or even work in Canada.
In addition to the visa-exempt nations, there are a small number of countries whose nationals can sometimes be eligible for an eTA. If you’re from Brazil, Bulgaria or Romania, you may be able to apply for an eTA. You have to be planning to visit Canada by air, and you must either have held a Canadian visitor visa in the past 10 years or currently hold a nonimmigrant visa for the United States. If you meet these conditions, you can apply for an eTA even though a national of your country would normally have to apply for a visa.
If you’re entering Canada to study or work, your eTA is usually issued when you receive your study or work permit if you’re eligible for it.
Other eTA requirements
In addition to a valid passport from a visa-exempt country, you’ll need an email address and a credit card to receive an eTA.
How long can I stay in Toronto on an eTA?
When you travel to Canada using an eTA, you can usually stay for up to six months or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. However, a border services officer can either require you to leave the country earlier or permit you to extend your stay. These extensions will be noted either in your passport or in an additional document given to you by border services. These limits or extensions are based on individual circumstances; most travellers can stay for up to six months.
How long can I stay in Toronto on a visa?
The length of your stay in Toronto will depend on the type of visa you’re issued. If you’re travelling as a tourist, you’ll likely be able to stay for up to six months. For other types of visa, such as study, work, tranist or temporary resident visas, the duration of your stay will vary.
Visas, eTAs and entry
Having a visa or an eTA doesn’t guarantee entry to Canada. Although it’s rare, a border services officer can still deny you entry to the country or limit the amount of time you can spend in Canada.
Whether you’re visiting Toronto as part of a holiday, travelling to visit family, or looking to start a new job, it’s important to know whether you require a visa or an eTA for your trip. Once you’ve determined which you need, you can begin the application process, receive your authorization and visit Canada with confidence and peace of mind.